Web site catalogues history of country

Meagan Pietrzak

Before the end of the year, a digital Web site, Riches from the Earth: Geological and Industrial History of Jasper County about Jasper County’s mining history should be launched.

“It will feature about 100 photographs that pre-date 1920,” said Brad Belk, director of the Joplin Museum Complex.

Materials on the Web site will be gathered from the archives at Missouri Southern, the Joplin Museum Complex, the Powers Museum and the Western Historical Manuscript Collection from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

The Web site will place an emphasis on visual components. Users will also have the ability to click on photographs or documents for information about the technology and methods used when mining was the county’s economic means of support. It will also detail the types of materials that were contained in the mines, such as zinc, lead, limestone and marble.

“It’s been a long time,” Belk said.

“We’re disconnected from that mining community.”

The photos that will be featured on the Web site have never been published before.

“The University received about $7,750 for a Library Services and Technology Cooperative grant to launch the Web site,” said Charles Nodler, Southern archivist.

The grant period runs until Dec. 31, 2006 so it is anticipated the site will be up and running before the end of the year.

Among the collections are digital mining maps showing where different types of mines existed and the minerals they contained.

The Web site would make several different displays available to anyone who could access the Internet.

The Library Services and Technology Act is a federal program that is managed at the state level and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The University is also pursuing other projects that can be linked to the Web site in the future with the help of other grants.

“We are starting small and then we are going to try and expand if we can,” Nodler said. “This project will benefit Southern because we’ll still have the rights to the pictures, but it will be more easily accessible to the community. It will really show the value of our archives.”

The Southern Archives Web site can be viewed at www.mssu.edu/spivalib/FRArchives.shtml to see available collections.

For more information, contact Nodler at 625-9552.